The United States’ market-government hybrid mortgage system is unique in the world. No other nation has such heavy government intervention in housing finance. This hybrid system nurtured the excessively risky loans, financed with too much leverage, that fueled the U.S. housing bubble of the last decade and resulted in the systemic collapse of the global financial system. The responsibility for the massive failures of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, at the center of American housing finance and the private securitization system that supports housing finance, falls directly on regulators and indirectly on their political overseers.

More on Housing Markets


Are We Headed towards Another Housing Crisis?

By Adam Smith and Bruce Yandle. Forbes. November 12, 2014.

Cameron’s Home-Buying Bungle

By Dalibor Rohac. Wall Street Journal Europe. October 2, 2013.

Financial Crisis Reforms Missed the Mark

By Mark A. Calabria. Orange County Register. September 21, 2013.

Cato Studies

The Role of Mortgage Finance in Financial (In)Stability

By Mark A. Calabria. Working Paper No. 23. September 12, 2014.

The Paths to Mortgage Finance Reform and Their Budgetary Implications

By Ike Brannon and Mark A. Calabria. Working Paper No. 18. March 18, 2014.

Mortgage Reform under the Dodd-Frank Act

By Mark A. Calabria. Working Paper No. 15. January 27, 2014.

Public Filings

Texas Dep’t of Housing & Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.

By Meriem Hubbard, Ralph Kasarda, Joshua P. Thompson & Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. June 16, 2014.

A Legislative Proposal to Protect American Taxpayers and Homeowners by Creating a Sustainable Housing Finance System

By Mark A. Calabria. Testimony. July 18, 2013.

Mariner’s Cove Townhomes Association v. United States

By Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus, Richard A. Epstein & Ilya Somin. Legal Briefs. July 15, 2013.

Cato Reviews & Journals

The Financial Crisis: Why the Conventional Wisdom Is Wrong

Richard Kovacevich. Cato's Letter. Fall 2014.

The Financial Crisis: Why the Conventional Wisdom Has It All Wrong

Richard Kovacevich. Cato Journal. Fall 2014.

Do Coastal Building Codes Make Stronger Houses?

Carolyn A. Dehring and Martin A. Halek. Regulation. Summer 2014.


Rethinking Housing Bubbles: The Role of Household and Bank Balance Sheets in Modeling Economic Cycles

Featuring Vernon L. Smith, Steven Gjerstad, Dean Baker & Mark A. Calabria. October 1, 2014. Book Forum.

Housing Finance Reform: Past, Present, and Future

Featuring Mark A. Calabria. July 18, 2014. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Third Annual Cato Papers on Public Policy Conference

Featuring Jeffrey Miron. June 6, 2013, June 7, 2013. Conference.